Q&A with Princess Grace Award Recipient, Olivier Wevers

From pirouettes to award winning choreography, fellow Seattleite to be recognized at Cipriani in New York City.

I’ve had the privilege of interviewing Olivier Wevers, Artistic Director of the Seattle dance company Whim W’Him, in the past and was thrilled to hear the news about his most recent exciting milestone: being awarded a 2011 Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship.  I recently sat down with the former Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancer yet again to chat briefly about the prestigious award.

Photo by Kim and Adam Bamberg of La Vie Photography.

Seattleite: First things first, CONGRATULATIONS!

Olivier Wevers: Thank you.

Seattleite: Tell me how this came about. Did you know that you had been nominated?

Olivier Wevers: I did. Donald Byrd (Artistic Director of Spectrum Dance Theatre) contacted me and said “I want to nominate you for the Princess Grace” and I was thinking to myself, “yes!” and then my job was to prepare paper work about what this award would mean to my career, the details of what I’ve been doing in my career and the proposed piece that I would be choreographing with details about the music, how many dancers I’d be using, etc., since a portion of the award goes to funding a new creation for Spectrum.

Seattleite:  It must have been a great feeling; finding out you’d been nominated.

Olivier Wevers:  I’m very grateful to Donald for nominating me. He has been one of the mentors in my career as a choreographer. He’s given me opportunities and that has been great for me, to have someone believing in me.

Seattleite: Can you tell me a bit about the piece you proposed?

Olivier Wevers:  My proposal is a work about gender power and the ongoing gender wars we see in our society.  I was inspired by a black and white image of a man’s testicle being squished by a woman in high-gloss heels. I saw that image and was amazed by how much it said. That was the seed that started it.

Photo by Kim and Adam Bamberg of La Vie Photography.

Seattleite:  Share with me some of the highlights you wrote in your proposal specific to what this award would mean to you and how you thought it might affect you. Has your reaction been different (after being awarded) than you thought it might be?

Olivier Wevers: It’s hard to say how you’d feel if you got the award. It’s hard to know if it would change anything. It won’t change anything in the way I work; it’s not going to change any of my beliefs, goals or my mission.  What I am hoping it will do is give me credibility to those that don’t know me or my work.  But ultimately it won’t change my way of thinking or working.

Seattleite: Another element to this award is that your husband, Lucien Postlewaite, has also received a Princess Grace award.

Olivier Wevers:  Yes. He received an award for the Dance Fellowship back in 2008. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend because I was performing at the time but he’ll be able to come with me.

Wevers will be recognized in an award ceremony hosted by Prince Albert II of Monaco on November 1, 2011 in New York City. I couldn’t resist asking what every other woman is thinking…

Seattleite: So… have you decided what you’ll be wearing?

Olivier Wevers:  I actually have to rent a tuxedo! It’s a black tie event because we’ll be meeting Prince Albert.

We at Seattleite think you’re a Prince too, Olivier. Congratulations!